BVI News

People don’t need ‘forensic audit’ for a $200 grant — Premier

Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley

Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley has strongly criticised the complex bureaucracy affecting those seeking public assistance in the territory.

Yesterday, while debating the Public Assistance (Amendment) Bill 2024, Dr Wheatley highlighted the significant hurdles and inefficiencies in the current system, which often leave the territory’s most vulnerable struggling unnecessarily.

He was particularly harsh on the current system for making it too difficult to receive small amounts of aid. “When the people realise what you have to do to get $200… When the people realise the type of forensic audit… let’s get real. Nobody is going to go through that for $200. They prefer to go without, or they prefer to go to the Premier or somebody else and say, man, just gimme $200,” he explained.

He referred to a district allocation that elected representatives used to receive before the Commission of Inquiry (COI) removed it. The Premier stated that constituents now expect their representatives to come up with solutions due to the new challenging system in place.

Dr Wheatley also highlighted the disconnect between the bureaucratic process and the actual needs of those seeking help. He described the extensive checks for minor assistance amounts as impractical.

The Public Assistance (Amendment) Bill 2024 is set to overhaul this system by introducing a more thorough and humane method for assessing and meeting the needs of families who struggle to afford basic necessities. The bill proposes a ‘minimum basket’ of essential needs and aims to bridge the gap for households falling below this threshold.

The legislation also seeks to correct previous mismanagement, highlighted by audits that revealed inefficiencies and potential abuse in the distribution of funds. “Giving money to representatives to give out to their constituents was just a band-aid to try to solve something as opposed to going to the root of it and solving it properly,” the Premier said. “And that’s what we’re doing here. We are going to solve this problem properly.”

This new bill marks a significant shift from previous methods where district representatives managed funds, which led to unfairness and widespread misuse.

Dr Wheatley praised the proactive efforts in reforming the system, including raising public sector salaries to ensure a living wage for all residents. “This is probably the most substantial increase in salary in the history of the public service,” he remarked, emphasising the government’s dedication to improving citizens’ economic conditions.

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23 Comments

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  1. Really? says:

    Is he a member of the opposition now? He is the Premier and he is complaining publicly about systems that he should have ensured were not this intrusive and time consuming. He really has no clue about what is happening in his own government. Waste of time of a leader.

    Like 28
    Dislike 2
    • DR.NO CLUE says:

      HE RUSHED WENT UK TP SIGN TO IT

      Like 5
      Dislike 1
    • To be fair ... says:

      These systems have been in place for years and cannot be blamed solely on the Premier. The territory on the whole has too much red tape on just about all processes and that needs to be root caused and rectified .When you factor in civil servants predisposed to obstruction rather than assistance, even the most rudimentary government functions become unnecessarily convoluted and profoundly exasperating

      Like 6
      Dislike 4
  2. TruDat! says:

    But left un-checked you will soon distribute that $200 to each of 1,250 “families” and then there goes another quarter of a million dollars with no accountability.

    Like 39
    Dislike 3
  3. follow the rules says:

    Dear Premier…”just gimme $200 please”. Thanks. No need for all these forms…

    Like 13
  4. TALK THAT says:

    THE 45 MILLION THAT YOU AND FAHIE GIVE AWAY NEED THE FORENSIC AUDIT

    Like 35
    • Deh Watcha says:

      Brother, they are not touching that. They talking about everything except that. Even the opposition isn’t talking about it.

      And don’t forget, all persons who received out of that assistance are to give account of how it was spent. But that is another story.

      Like 15
      Dislike 1
  5. Sir says:

    You have brought this upon yourselves for all of your previous reckless disregard for honesty, integrity and transparency concentrating selfishly on personal gain , nepotism and narcissism.

    Like 28
    Dislike 1
  6. TOURIST BOARD says:

    MOVE THE MONEY LIKE HOW YOU MOVED THAT 1.5 MILLION DOLLARS TO DO YOUR MUSICFEST

    Like 18
  7. Google says:

    Sowande you are just little boys playing men! You let outsiders dictate how you take care of your own people. In the UK people are being paid to sit on their a**es, they don’t pay s**t for s**t, but they come here and tell you that helping people is corruption. You all are shameful and spineless.

    Like 5
    Dislike 10
  8. This tax payer says:

    This tax payer here need it. Allya think allya going go give allya friend and family my tax money a next go round. If you really struggling and need it and provide the relevant evidence I don’t see the problem. Allya go kick rocks with allya complaining. Take accountability, take it, take it.

    Like 13
    Dislike 1
  9. Eldread says:

    Why not drastically reduce tax all over and tax foreign financial services, teach a man to fish and not give him a fish, you wanna be powered over the people coming for $200 and the COI cut you power of control over the people’s life as politicians.

    Like 7
    Dislike 1
  10. WEW says:

    When was there ever an accurate audit in the BVI ? NEVER !

    Like 12
  11. Resident says:

    What about the same person getting multiple grants of $198.00? Would that be detected or permitted without the checks?

    Remember the farmers and fisherman grants and also the school wall project with multiple petty contracts, as I recall from the CoI.

  12. YES TO UK says:

    @Google Whatever the UK put in place after the COI is because every government of the BVI took the people’s money used it how they wanted give to whoever they wanted to give to without any accountable. And what do mean, you let outsiders dictate how you take care of your own people. Just a reminder the UK own the BVI, the UK give the BVI a long run on running things without getting involved but all governments did the something no accountability and it’s still going on. The UK needs to put a full stop to it.

    Like 9
    Dislike 1
  13. Worse than worse says:

    Sometimes one has to wonder if politicians believe BVI people have no common sense
    That is what it clearly seems to me

    Premier blatant lies
    What build in two years cannot be repairef in 6 years
    Look at the Complex
    Their friends and relatives collecting big rent from their private building to housed government offices .

    Shame on this Premier

  14. ??? says:

    @Wew the bvi has had accurate audits, just not accurate books and record keeping. Two different things. Hence they never had a clean or unmodified audit opinion.

  15. Emotions says:

    If the Premier who is the Minister of Finance could boldly say that it don’t need an audit to give someone a $200.00 grant, then something is seriously wrong with this man. Just look at the big picture in terms of transparency and accountability when for example 50 such needy persons apply for a grant within a given month. Just do the Math and see how much money we’re talking about here. Mr. Premier needs to understand that this money is NOT his, it belongs to the taxpayers of this country- therefore every red cent needs to be accounted for. He needs to be reminded that it is because of bad decisions why they are now faced with the recommendations from the COI.

    Like 10
  16. ... says:

    Some people are just so long on their system trickling gravy train they cant fathom that other people need assistance & temporary employment as it was when the freed slaves were going from subsistence to Santo Domingo by season.

    Without a low hanging fruit doing social services & short term work things like petty theif & host of problems we never traditionally experience will boom.

    Not everyone is built for 9-5. People come in all kind & fashion.

  17. Anonymous says:

    This Premier is over the top boldface with his idiocy.
    A disgrace to these VI.
    We are on free fall.
    The Asians will be our saving grace eventually..BVIslanders way out would be to offliad landzand property to the Asians and thrn highttail it out of their ancestral location to a better life. The future of these VI is nil..it has become another Black turd in the Caribbean with the demographic as proof.
    Hoping AF is sentenced to life imprisonment. In order to enable and fosterhis sordid actions ,he and his Admin,knowingly and deliberately created this new turd in the Caribbean chain.

  18. @ SIR says:

    that was wonderfully put , but BIG youth is having fun with himself and the rest of the gang / and opposition are like spectators , they are just enjoying the ride and they have for fools

  19. Strain on The Local Economy says:

    Mannnn why when your teachers and parents send allu go school to learn something its very important because allu putting weight on the economies shoulder with the constant begging and need of financial assistance. In the meantime Mr Wheatley needs to hush his ignorant mouth.

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